Photo ID Required for Voting
Watch: Learn all about the new voter photo ID requirement.
Voters will be asked to show photo ID when voting in North Carolina.
Most voters will simply show their driver’s license. But there are many other acceptable photo IDs.
Voters can also get a free ID card from the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). Find more information under “No-Fee ID Cards” at State IDs | NCDMV.
All voters will be allowed to vote with or without a photo ID. If a voter cannot show photo ID when voting in person, they can still vote by filling out an ID Exception Form. If absentee-by-mail voters are unable to include a copy of their photo ID with their ballot return envelope, they can also fill out an ID Exception Form with their ballot. Find more information under ID Exceptions below.
Voters must show an acceptable photo ID when they check in at their voting site during early voting or on Election Day. Election workers check to see if the picture on the ID reasonably resembles the voter and if the name on the ID is the same as or very similar to the voter’s name in their registration record. The address on the photo ID does not have to match the voter registration records.
If the voter does not show an acceptable ID, the voter may proceed to vote in one of the two following ways:
- complete an ID Exception Form and then vote with a provisional ballot, or
- vote with a provisional ballot and then return to their county board of elections office with their photo ID by the day before county canvass. (For municipal elections in September and October, this deadline is the Monday following Election Day. For all other elections, the deadline is the second Thursday following Election Day.)
Voters who vote by mail must include a photocopy of an acceptable ID when returning their ballot, or they may complete an ID Exception Form. The voter places the photocopy of ID or ID Exception Form in a pocket on the outside of the ballot container envelope, which is then placed in an outer return envelope to protect the privacy of the voter.
Acceptable Photo IDs for Voting
Any of the following that is unexpired, or expired for one year or less:
- North Carolina driver’s license
- State ID from the NCDMV (also called “non-operator ID”)
- Driver’s license or non-driver ID from another state, District of Columbia, or U.S. territory (only if voter registered in North Carolina within 90 days of the election)
- U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport card
- North Carolina voter photo ID card issued by a county board of elections (see Get a Free Voter Photo ID)
- College or university student ID approved by the State Board of Elections (see box below)
- State or local government or charter school employee ID approved by the State Board of Elections (see box below)
Note: A voter 65 or older may use an expired form of acceptable ID if the ID was unexpired on their 65th birthday.
Any of the following, regardless of whether the ID contains an expiration or issuance date:
- Military or veterans ID card (with photo) issued by the U.S. government
- Tribal enrollment card (with photo) issued by a tribe recognized by the state or a tribe recognized by the federal government
- ID card (with photo) issued by an agency of the U.S. government or the State of North Carolina for a public assistance program (Note: Although this is an acceptable form of ID under North Carolina law, the State Board is not aware of any such ID in circulation that contains a photo. All IDs for voting are required to have a photo.)
Student and Public Employee IDs Approved for Voting
The State Board of Elections has approved 100 student and employee identification cards across the state for use in the 2023 municipal elections and 2024 primary and general elections in North Carolina.
In the coming months, the State Board will announce additional ID application periods for the 2024 elections.
Free Photo ID Cards
All county boards of elections can issue free voter photo IDs to registered voters in their county. To be issued a free voter photo ID card, the voter must provide their name, date of birth, and the last four digits of their Social Security number, and have their photo taken. Find additional information at Get a Free Voter Photo ID.
Additionally, any North Carolina resident can get a free non-driver’s ID card from the DMV. Find more information under “No-Fee ID Cards” at State IDs | NCDMV.
If any voter is unable to show photo ID when voting (whether in person or by mail), they may fill out an ID Exception Form and vote their ballot. The voter will choose from the following permitted exceptions:
- The voter has a “reasonable impediment” to showing photo ID. This means that something is preventing the voter from showing ID. The voter must provide their reason by selecting from the following choices on the form.
- Lack of transportation
- Disability or illness
- Lack of birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain ID
- Work or school schedule
- Family responsibilities
- Photo ID is lost, stolen, or misplaced
- Applied for photo ID but have not received it
- (For mail voters only) Unable to attach a copy of photo ID (Voter must include driver’s license number or last four digits of Social Security number)
- Other reasonable impediment (if selected, the voter must write the reason on the form)
- State or federal law prohibits voter from listing the reason
- The voter has a religious objection to being photographed.
- The voter was a victim of a natural disaster within 100 days before Election Day that resulted in a disaster declaration by the President of the United States or the Governor of North Carolina.
County boards of elections must count provisional ballots with properly completed ID Exception Forms.
Find answers to questions about North Carolina’s photo ID requirement for voting at FAQ: Voter ID.